Watchmen Review

28 11 2008

watchmen(Just a warning for those of you who haven’t read Watchmen, this post will contain spoilers)

A few weeks back I finished reading Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I’m ashamed to say I’ve owned a copy of Watchmen for over a decade but it took me that long to read it. I don’t act that way with any of Alan Moore’s other books. I devoured V for Vendetta, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as soon as I got them but with Watchmen, I let it sit, like some mammoth cthulhu-like creature waiting in the darkness. I guess in some ways I was intimidated by it, after all, it is regarded as the greatest ever graphic novel. So it was with a mix of trepidation and anticipation that I finally sat down to read Watchmen.

It didn’t let me down. While I wouldn’t say it is my favourite graphic novel of all time, some of the volumes of the Sandman, Akira, Planetary and even V for Vendetta are up there with it, it is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever read. As ever Alan Moore displays his monstrous skill and intellect, creating a narrative that is so far beyond what anyone else can even come close to replicating (well, maybe Grant Morrison could). Dave Gibbons artwork is solidly British and displays the same subtlety that David Lloyd displayed in V for Vendetta. The art is deceptively simple but packed full of character. It made me realise how much I prefer this style of art to the showboating tricks that characterise most modern mainstream comics.

For me Watchmen captured the mood of an era exceptionally well. This felt like the 80s, an era where our mutually assured destruction is simply a few button presses away. It made me realise how close we were (and still are) to our doom.

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the film adaptation though I’m wondering how they can possibly do it justice. One thing that does worry me is the news [link] that they will be changing the ending from the giant squid monster that destroys New York to what seems to be nuclear devastation. I can understand their reasons for changing it – it seems a bit silly for a modern audience but then we had Cloverfield just recently so I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch.  There are other elements which I am interested to see how they develop – most notably the Black Ship comic within a comic stuff. Will it be interweaved within the film?

Anyway, Watchmen is a piece of genius. Highly recommended.

9/10

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